Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Focus on Entrepreneurs - Smart Start Meals - What's for dinner?

By Steve MacNaull
The Daily Courier

Imagine coming home from work and having dinner already prepared.
That's what Smart Start Meals of Kelowna is delivering to busy households.
"Our target is families and people that have a lot going on, " said Ken Scott, who owns and operates Smart Start with his wife Susanne.
"The most popular offering for a bsy family of four is the 12-meal package, which means 12 fully prepared meals that serve four to six people for $259. That means for three of the busiest nights of the week for the entire month, dinner is taken care of." Customers choose from a varied menu and Smart Start does the shopping, chopping, and preparation. Full dinners of a meat rice or potatoes and vegetable are packaged, frozen, and delivered. All you have to do is pull the meal out of the freezer when you want to cook it.
Dishes for the fall include stews, roast chickens, Basa Italiano, Indian and Asian favourites, and vegetarian options. "Our emphasis is on healthy, wholesome foods with no trans-fats or additives and as much organic as possible," said Scott.
Smart Start has operated since January, and has a client base of about 100.
It is hoping to expand by having a booth at Saturday and Sunday's Ski show and Swap at the Kelowna Curling Club.
"Skiers are a perfect target market for us," said Scott. During the week they are busy at work and with their kids sports, and on the weekend, they are at the ski hill and don't want to have to shop and haul food up there to prepare.
Skiers can order their dinner packages and take them up the hill or leave everything up to Smart Start and have the meals delivered to an address at Big White Ski resort for a fee.
Meal preparation is quite a life change for the Scott's. They used to live in Vancouver where Susanne was a dental assistant, and Ken worked for video game company Nintendo as a computer networker.
They used to visit Kelowna every summer and wanted to move here for the smaller city recreational lifestyle and a crack at self-employment.
They modeled Smart Start on similar preparation businesses in the UK and US.
For now, the Scott's are using a rental kitchen at a downtown church for all their order preparation while they have a commercial kitchen built.
"We have creative minds, and know this service is needed in Kelowna and we are dedicated to preparing fresh, nutritious meals," said Scott. "So, it's already going well and will only get better."